Traveling Perfume Boxes : UK, Continental Europe, USA

Our traveling perfume boxes return after a break. If you would like to participate, here is how you can do it. And whether you’re participating or not, please read the perfume descriptions below.

black dahlia

How does it work: To enter, please post a comment answer these questions: 1) where are you based (UK, Continental Europe, USA), and if you’re a winner, can I share your email address with the original sender? ; 2) do you agree to pass the box onto someone else within two weeks or so (add a couple of your own samples and share your sampling notes with the rest of us)? and 3) what perfume are you wearing today? I will pick the next person to receive the box via a random number generator. I will announce that person in this spot and contact them via email. The next people to receive the box: UK–Abbie, Europe–PaulinaL, USA–Ariel.

Winners, please read this part closely: When you’re ready to pass the box onto someone else, please get in touch with me. Please include 2 things in your email: the full list of samples and your sampling notes (what you’ve discovered, what you’ve liked/disliked, any observations you care to include).

To check the progress of our boxes, please click on the Traveling Sample Box tag.

The UK Box and Briony’s Notes

Grossmith Saffron Rose

For some inexplicable reason I own several saffron rose perfumes, and as they’re all quite different, I was keen to see how Grossmith’s compared. It was different again. Straight away it smelled lovely and old fashioned, nostalgic and make-upy, and, like all the Grossmiths I’ve tried – quite beautiful. In fact before Chanel Misia was released and I managed to get my paws on a tester, this is what I imagined it to smell like. Over time Saffron Rose’s florals took a back seat and oud came out and bit of sweet, wafty tobacco. Very nice.

Grossmith Amelia

Simply going by the name, I expected this to be a bit maiden-aunt and prissy, but it wasn’t at all. It smelled gloriously vintage, like all the Grossmiths I’ve tried, but turned out to be much lighter than I expected although surprisingly tenacious. To me, it seemed to have a sort of lenticular effect, like those postcards that look as if they’re moving when you change your viewing angle – it seemed to jump from one floral to another. Looking it up online, I found it opens with neroli and osmanthus, developing into rose and jasmine. The lenticular effect wore off over time, and the more it settled, the more I liked it.

Shay and Blue Atropa Belladonna

As I started with the Grossmiths, I decided to keep on the English theme and went for Shay and Blue’s Atropa Belladonna next. Also, that day happened to be Halloween and I remembered reading somewhere that belladonna had magical connotations. I always think of Shay and Blue as a British Atelier Cologne, because, like the Ateliers, every one of their fragrances I’ve tried, I’ve loved and find very wearable. And Atropa Belladonna is no exception. As soon as I sprayed it I got a burst of berries and white flowers, but without the sweetness that would send it veering off into fruity floral territory. There are some unusual spices in there, which, for me, gave it an unsettling quality (the magical connection maybe?). It was a bit more fleeting than I’d hoped, but lovely while it lasted.

Shay and Blue Amber Rose

Another Shay and Blue. From the name I expected something dark and full-on, but I was completely wrong. Amber Rose opened with a delicate almost lily of the valley niff. Very pretty indeed. After a while, a bit of rose edged its way in. Again pale and gauzy rather than full blown. It wasn’t till a couple of hours later that I noticed the amber kick in. Towards the end, the florals all but disappeared into a trail of delicious spicy sweetness.

Andy Tauer Une Rose Vermeille

This, I loved. I was very excited to see a couple of Andy Tauers in the box and went for Une Rose Vermeille next. Une Rose Chyprée is on my ‘to buy’ list so I was keen to try this to see how it compared. Well, to me it starts off quite citrussy. Its name suggests a voluptuous scented red rose and Rose Vermeille does unfurl into a gorgeous jammy velvety blossom but with that extra Andy Tauer amberry oomph. I’m not sure I love it as much as Une Rose Chyprée, mainly because it’s a far more obvious rose whereas Chyprée seems to have a lot more going on. That’s not to say Une Rose Vermeille is verging on the soliflore – it, too, is  complex. Something else I loved about it was its excellent longevity. I could still smell its waft six hours later.

Andy Tauer Pentachord White

My husband has the nose of a sniffer dog. He says mine’s been damaged over the years by my perfume snorting habit. Pentachord White, I told him (surprising myself as much as him by my knowledge) has only five ingredients, so I rammed my wrist against his nose to see if he could identify them. I thought it was exactly the kind of thing he’d like because I got ‘new car smell’, but all it did for him was to send him howling from the room.

By Kilian Vodka on the Rocks

If it wasn’t for the eye-wateringly high price tags I’d be all over the By Kilian’s, so I was very happy to see two of them in the box. The first one I tried was Vodka on the Rocks and it smells just as it sounds – like a glass of premium vodka, fizzing and tinkling over ice in a heavy crystal tumbler with a twist of lemon and a smattering of high class tonic. It’s pretty powerful stuff, but although I will happily wear masculine scents, this is a step too far for me. It softened over time, the dry-down notching up the florals a smidgeon, but I still found it too austere. It reminded me of Lubin’s Gin Fizz, which I was desperate to try when it was re-released, then found a let-down. Maybe I prefer my booze in the glass rather than wafting from my wrists.

Yves Rocher Rose Absolue

My sister tried this first and found it very harsh and strong, so as our tastes are similar I was expecting to feel the same way. Surprisingly I didn’t. For (yet another) rose perfume it had none of that cloying soliflore schoolmarmyness that puts a lot of perfume lovers off roses. Instead it opened up with a lovely almost modern take on rose, wrapped in citrus. This slowly lifted to reveal a luscious sweetly spicy dry-down that lasted for some hours. I was pleasantly surprised.

Etro Shaal Nur

This has been on my ‘must try’ list for years but somehow my forages into Liberty have always been waylaid by other perfumes jumping out and grabbing my attention first. I knew it was an incense – and I love incense – but I didn’t get that at all. First sniff gave me spices and vetiver but any initial heaviness evaporated to leave a nice airy, light, complex scent that settled down to something that reminded me a little of Shalimar. It’s really lovely at every stage and ends up a cosy powdery citrussy skin scent. Not very long lasting but while it was there I found it very compelling. Gone from ‘must try’ to ‘buy if I come across it at a good price’.

Frederic Malle Eau d’Hiver

I was looking forward to trying this as I remember liking it years ago after a sniffing session at Les Senteurs and I love just about everything Jean-Claude Ellena does. Sadly, in the intervening years, I must have become anosmic to some of the ingredients in this – musks maybe – because now all I can detect after dousing myself in it is a fleeting whisper of something vaguely nicely scented and then it’s gone. Such a pity. I looked up online to see what I was missing. The Non-Blonde describes it beautifully as a white perfume with ‘that eerie silence that envelops the world in the middle of a snow storm’. Drat!

Alexander McQueen Kingdom

I’d heard quite a bit about Kingdom – that it was good, that it was discontinued and that it had a lot of cumin in it (not my favourite note, although I used to love the original Rochas Femme). Roger, who had the travelling perfume box before me, loved it so much he went out of his way to track down a bottle online. That was more than enough to make me try it. And I did like it a lot. It reminded me somewhat of Musc Koublai Khan – a perfume that I found no more skanky and animalic than the inside of a vintage leather handbag. For me, Kingdom started with a big whack of orange and then settled into its warm cuminy stage. It was very distinctive and had plenty of staying power, but fortunately – especially now it’s so expensive and hard to get – not for me.

Etat Libre d’Orange Noël au Balcon

This one opened with a blast of hairspray, really nose-assaltingly harsh. But within seconds it had vanished, leaving nothing but a faint, pleasant, orangey-amberry dry-down. That stuck around for a while but it wore so close to the skin the only way I could smell it was by ramming my wrist against my nose and breathing like a dragon. Still, I’m always relieved to be able to add another perfume to my ‘disregard’ list.

Atelier Cologne Grand Neroli

Orange blossom is one of my favourite notes and Grand Neroli opens with a lovely frisky green version that immediately makes you feel the sun’s come out. Just what you need on a depressingly autumnal afternoon in Farringdon. The bright, citrussy opening lasts for half an hour or so, then fades into two of my favourite notes – vanilla and amber. I didn’t find this particularly long lasting which is a shame, but it was still lovely.

By Kilian Back to Black

Last time I visited Serge’s Lutens’s lovely Palais Royale store I’d got Fumerie Turque on my sniffing list, only to be told they were out of it. Back to Black is what I imagine Fumerie Turque smells like. Dense cherry pipe tobacco smokiness that wafts in and out of some exotic unidentifiable fruit and honey for hour after hour. For me it’s one of those perfumes – like Le Labo’s Patchouli 24 – that I’d love to have to hand just to sniff, but probably wouldn’t want to wear.

Chanel Cristalle Eau Verte

With a name like Eau Verte I expected this to smell like an eye-narrowingly green version of Cristalle, but yet again I was wrong. It’s very citrussy, but then no more so than Cristalle, and within minutes was settling into a lovely mimosa-rich floral. I should have known better. It’s a Chanel after all, classic, complex, rounded and beautifully wearable. I used to use Cristalle EDT back in the ‘80s. This is the version I would choose to wear again.

Hermes Eau des Merveilles

I found this to be one of those stealth perfumes, like Molecules 01 and 02, that smell of very little then reappear on and off throughout the day. On me it opened with a quick fizz of woody orange then strolled off for a few hours (my musk anosmia perhaps?) returning every now and again in a haze of blurry something or other, that smelled elegant and introspective but was so sheer and fleeting I couldn’t pin it down. So I looked it up. The advertising copy for Eau des Merveilles describes it as being based on three accords: the spirit of wood, the memory of the ocean, and the sparkle of a constellation – and for once it made sense.

Hermes Ambre des Merveilles

Another Jean Claude Ellena so I was expecting to like this – and I did. I got a big slug of amber right from the start which lasted all the way through. I also got a sweet almost caramel-like vanilla that faded into a nice sheer woody dry-down. Bright, luminous and comfy, I found this easy to wear and it lasted pretty much all day, but it still can’t replace my favourite JCE amber – Ambre Narguilé.

Hermes Un Jardin sur le Nil

I found this to be a lovely high-pitched grapefruit scent with a surprising amount of tenacity (seeing how it’s both a citrus and by Jean-Claude Ellena). I have Ormonde Jayne’s Osmanthus, which I find very grapefruity, but now I’ve tried this I think I find Un Jardin sur le Nil more interesting and less harsh. Although the grapefruit remained throughout, towards the end I’m sure I detected a trail of incense which was gorgeous.

Annick Goutal Un Matin d’Orage

For me, this opened with a blast of ozone which I wasn’t too keen on, but the ‘morning storm’ was quickly over and the sun came out as it nestled into a beautiful gauzy gardenia scent with a sparkle of soft citrus. I love gardenias and I’m sure I can make room for this one in between the two I own – Tom Ford’s fleshy Velvet Gardenia and Estée Lauder’s squeaky clean, Tuberose Gardenia. In fact I think I’d wear it more often.

4160 Tuesdays Sexiest Scent on the Planet

I’d heard a lot about Sarah McCartney’s quirky perfume house, all of it good. And not only is she a fellow Brit, her studio’s in London, my home town, so I needed to give both perfumes in the box a try. I love citrussy vanillary woody scents so this turned out to be right up my street. I’d describe it as wantonly comforting rather than sexy, but maybe that’s just my age talking.

4160 Tuesdays Doe in the Snow

This has such a beautiful name, and knowing it was created for Odette Toilette’s January wedding, I was expecting something pretty and icily floral. Nope. Wrong again. This reminded me very much of Chinatown – a strong peachy chypre. So strong in fact, it eventually started giving me a headache so I had to wash it off. There were bits I liked though. Just after the top notes evaporated, something sparkly and grapefruity came through, but only a quick glimpse, like shimmer of sunlight in the woods, and then it was gone.

Agonist Onyx Pearl

I found everything about this perfume to be dark and brooding. Leather, smoke, patchouli, oud, amber, sandalwood. I got an idea of what I was smelling from the packaging – the notes are printed on the front of the box – coolly justified and letter spaced, as part of the design. What I didn’t get detect at all was the first note on the list – oriental flowers. It’s nice, but for me, one sniff was probably enough.

4160 Tuesdays Sexiest Scent on the Planet
4160 Doe in the Snow
Agent Provocateur Eau Emotionnelle – added
Agonist Onyx Pearl
Alexander McQueen Kingdom
Amouage Gold
Amouage Honour
Annick Goutal Un Matin d’Orage
Annick Goutal Ninfeo Mio
Annick Goutal Eau Hadrien
Aqua di ParmaColonia Essenza
Artisan Parfumeur La Chasse aux Papillons
Atelier Cologne Mistral Patchouli
Atelier Cologne Grand Neroli
Azagury – added
Botega Veneta Knot
By Kilian Vodka on the Rocks
By Kilian Back to Black
Cacharel Loulou
Caron Lady Caron
Caron Piu Bellodgia
Cartier Baiser Vole – added
Chanel Coco Mademoiselle
Chanel Cristalle Eau Verte
Comme des Garcons Blue Santal
Comme des Garcons Blue Cedrat
Donna Karan Gold
Etat Libre d’Orange Noel au Balcon
Diptique L’Eau de neroli
Diptique Tam Dao
Fendi Theorema
Frederic Malle Eau d’Hiver
Grossmith Amelia
Grossmith Floral Veil
Grossmith Saffron Rose
Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Bouquet No 1
Guerlain L’Homme Ideal EDT
Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire
Guerlain Idylle – added
Hermes Un Jardin sur le Nil
Hermes Elixir des Merveilles
Hermes Voyage d’Hermes
Hermes Jour d’Hermes
Hermes Eau des Merveilles
Jardins d’Ecrivains Junky
Jardins d’Ecrivains Wilde
Liz Earle No 1
Liz Earle No 15
Mazzolari Lui
Miller Harris Noix de Tubereuse
Narciso Rodriguez Narciso
Olfactive Studios Autoportrait
Olfactive Studios Lumiere Blanche
Oriza Legrand Marions Nous
Ormonde Jayne Osmanthus
Paul Emilien Une Belle Journee
Penhaligon Tralala
Penhaligon Quercus – added
Roger et Gellet Amande Persane
Rouge Bunny Rouge Embers
Rouge Bunny Rouge Cynefin
Rouge Bunny Rouge Silvan
Salvadore Dali
Serge Lutens Jeux de Peau
Shay and Blue Atropa Belladonna
Shay and Blue Amber Rose
Tauer Une Rose Vermeille
Tauer Pentachord White
Treffpunkt 8 Uhr
Tocca Simone – added
Van Cleef & Arpels First – added
Vero Profumo Onda EDP
Yves Rocher Rose Absolue

Finished vials:
L’Ambre des Merveilles
By Kilian Playing with the Devil
A Lab on Fire What we do in Paris is secret
Etro Shaal Nur

The EU Box and Wendy’s Notes

I live in Brittany, France where I don’t have access to much perfume. This didn’t seem to matter when I first moved here–I brought plenty with me–because somehow my motivation to use perfume and my equally mysterious need to discover new perfumes dried up. For the first couple of years I only seemed drawn to natural scents, and very few of my old favorites did the trick for me, most of them languished on my shelves. Now, after more than 3 years away from my old city life, my tastes have changed completely (they always did every few years), and I find myself back on endless quest for perfume stimulus, so I felt very lucky to be getting this box!

Vero Profumo Rozy Voile d’Extrait — this was love at first sniff, which is literally a blast of fizzy smoky fruit, descending into the rabbit hole of surprise elements of phosphorescent flower, fruit, and spice. This is an Alice in Wonderland fragrance for me, full of surprise twists and turns, each time I wear it something different comes up. Normally I don’t like fruit in a perfume, nor tuberose, but each of these elements is somehow broken up and reconstructed so that they bear little resemblence to their quotidian selves. It’s downright exciting to wear.
I want to quote what Nora said about Rozy in her notes, provocatively: “There are people and things in life who do not seem very exceptional at first but you keep thinking of them. I kept sampling this one, intrigued but clueless if I really like it. I adore when a perfume makes me feel and think for a long time.” Amen.

Vero Profumo Rubj Voile d’Extrait — I made the mistake of writing it off as a white floral at first sniff, and moved onto something else. Through the morning I kept getting a whiff of something a bit disturbing, rich and enticing, with a kind of funky floral character, a quality I have been searching for in a perfume forever. People always talk about Orange Blossom being fresh and green and bright, but having lived with a tree next door it had nothing like those qualities for me …. Rubj is the Funky Floral of my dreams!

Volnay Objet Celeste — – This is a subtle but altogether surprising scent, a kind of sparkling almond floral, with no gourmand vibe at all. Oddly I had a yen for almond sometime last year, got a sniff of SL Louve, which was way too much almond for me, and I had no idea how to quench this thirst, until now!

I feel that I must say something about Vero Kern of Vero Profumo, as her scents are so little like anything else around. A truly (fiercly) Indie Perfumer who makes eccentric, intense scents not for the faint of heart …. these are big, bold, magnetic perfumes. I was delighted to get to re-experience them, sad that two of them are complete nightmares on me, but the other two are absolutely heavenly. A truly exciting perfume adventure, very rare these days.

Annick Goual Heure Exquise – a simultaneously sparkling and rich floral, seamlessly blended.

Terry de Gunzberg Rose Infernale – a rich spicy rose I want to love but it pulls a disappearing act on me, it must be a chemistry thing.

Aedes Oeillet Bengale – a softly spicy carnation, for carnation lovers.

Pierre Guillaume Jangala – a warm cozy cuddly woodsy scent

Guerlain Rose Barbare: I can only assume that the clear liquid in the sample vial is the reformulation of the previously rich golden honeyed rose scent that this once was. I was at the airport recently and sampled it for the first time in ages, and it was quite similar to what I had remembered, and I made a mental note to re-explore it. They must have had an older batch, too bad I didn’t splash out on it. This one is kind of a generic perfume, sad!

Serge Lutens Fille de Berlin: I really want to love this spicy rose, but it goes oddly sour on me.

What I kept:
Vero Profumo Rozy Voile d’Extrait
Vero Profumo Rubj Voile d’Extrait
Added to Box:
Amouage Jubilation 25 Woman
Amouage Interlude Woman
Ormande Jayne Woman
Estee Lauder Private Collection
Parfum d’Empire Azemour
Still in Box:
Parfum d’Empire Ambre Russe
Serge Lutens Chergui
Serge Lutens Bas de soie
Kilian Liaisons Dangereuses
Roads Lights
Tom Ford Violet Blonde
Chanel Misia
Guerlain Encens Mythique d’Orient
Guerlain Rose Barbare
Huitième Art Myrrhiad
Lush Death and Decay
Lush Smugglers Soul
Oriza L.Legrand Relique d’Amour
Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin
Terry de Gunzburg Rose Infernale
Volnay Objet Céleste
Aedes de Venustas Œillet Bengale
Pierre Guillaume Collection Croisière – Jangala
Annick Goutal Heure Exquise (eau de parfum)
Annick Goutal Nuit Étoilée (eau de parfum)
Annick Goutal Eau du Sud
Parfumerie Générale Cozé
Naomi Goodsir Bois d’Ascèse
Naomi Goodsir Cuir Velours
Vero Profumo Mito (Voile d’Extrait)
Vero Profumo Onda (Voile d’Extrait)

The USA Box and Elisa P’s Notes

I tried to sample blind and write what I smelled. I couldn’t help check on the interwebs afterwards to see how my note detection fared. Definitely improving… Fun exercise and activity!

1) HALSTON COUTURE PATCHOULI Lots of clean patch in this one from beginning to end of this chypre. Other supporting notes I detect are sheer green florals, and a soapy rose, something green-herbal/aromatic/astringent but mostly that tangy, patchy presence. Like Jacomo Silences got doused in patchouli. The drydown is the same but sheerer, almost reminiscent of herbal tea with a nice hit of oakmoss which lingers for a long time. It’s dry and slightly bitter to me. At its most intense point in the middle, I had flashbacks to using Dial liquid antibacterial soap to clean those infected body piercings when I was 20- something (TMI?). It reminds me of that Dial, and therefore of infections and youthful indiscretions.

2) BIEHL PARFUMKUNSTWERKE GS 01 has a fruity, boozy opening. Reminds me of the syrup from brandied pears. It warms up and develops a spicy, herbal quality, and the fruit becomes more sweet peach. There are whiffs of curry, anise/fennel, and something else fresh green in there. It’s sweet and pretty linear but softens to a musty/dusty woody drydown. It has a lushness and a comfort to it: like a cool, damp, green, shaded garden at dusk with fireflies, frogs, and maybe a few fairies hiding somewhere. I like it and it smells fairly natural. It reminds me in smell of a cross between Caron Aimez Moi and Diptyque Virgilio. This is my first time sampling this line. I’ve never been able to get beyond the name and numbered/initialed titles.

3) 10 CORSO COMO Big disappointment. The promise of a rich, smoky, spicy sandalwood was taken from me and replaced with a watery, faint sandalwood with a hint of incense which all arrived only after 20 minutes of application. Stayed that way until the more generic dusty wood drydown. I swear I couldn’t smell a thing for the first 20 minutes.

4) FREDERIC MALLE OUTRAGEOUS! Not really getting the name on this one. I guess I was expecting something brash, trashy, and weird done in the polished Malle style. Instead I get a citrus cologne that smells like a Turkish kolonya I have from Turkey used as a refresher on hot days (and cost $2.00). Sharp lemon-lime opening, verging on lemon Pledge with a synthetic, screechy feel. Just a hint of apple detected in there. When that calms down, I detect some neroli and then some cedar under there and then some white musk. It bored me but fortunately only lasted 2 hours.

5) LES PARFUMS DE ROSINE ECUME DE ROSE I get a fresh, pink, moist garden rose on a sunny day after the rain. There’s a slight lemony note to it and a hint of something fruity. Also a hint of salty vetiver underneath giving it some earthiness. And maybe the slightest hint of musk Didn’t last long, though. Quite nice and natural smelling but TDC Rose Poivree remains my favorite in this genre.

6) VIVA LA JUICY NOIR Wait. Where have I smelled this before? Oh. Everywhere! Berries and citrus atop a bowl of caramel and cotton candy. Loud and screechy initially, but dries down pretty quickly(fortunately) to a softer, creamier version of itself, with just a hint of something rubbery. Surprisingly, not super sweet on me. I won’t even nitpick about the “noir” not fitting this one. I kind of like it in all its fun, synthetic splendor but I probably would never wear it. A version of the theme that I like better is Hanae Mori Butterfly which I used to wear a lot in the early 2000s.

7) MAITRE PARFUMEUR ET GANTIER AMBRE PRECIEUX I get a straightforward soft, sweetish, powdery amber, with vanilla and benzoin. I got a flicker of citrus in the opening and get hints of spice and maybe some incense as well. Feels smooth and well-blended. A cozy cashmere sweater fragrance but it feels too familiar and similar to other things I’ve smelled or have. Actually reminds me of a Diptyque-either Eau Duelle EDP or the drydown of Volutes EDT.

8) PARFUMS DELRAE COUP DE FOUDRE Opens with a bright, citrusy garden rose brightened by peony. It softens and settles to what smells like rose essential oil with the dark green murky bits to ground it and make it smell very natural and earthy. Slightly soapy but remains warm with only a hint of honeyed sweetness. A nice, mature, realistic rose but it doesn’t really move me to anywhere in particular.

9) VILHELM PARFUMERIE DEAR POLLY Bright citrus opening with a hint of fruit: green apple? It’s has that screechy synthetic, slightly nose-burning effect which I found off-putting and almost scrubbed, however, I pushed through that discomfort(like a good perfumista) and it settled to a black tea scent with a slice of lemon and some mint sprigs, with a dash of honey. There’s a buzz of high- pitched synthetic woods underneath it all. I’m not drawn to tea fragrances for the most part and this one feels a bit too synthetic and harsh to me overall. IMO this one is wayyy overpriced for what it is. It lasted through a shower, though.

10) XERJOFF OUD STARS AL- KHAT My foray into Xerjoff . Even the bottles look haughty! The opening made me recoil: sweet vanilla powder with a potent, pungent dose of barnyard. It’s like being in an overcrowded cow corral, rather than a wide open cow pasture. As it settles, the manure note softens and mixes with the balsamic powder and an indolic jasmine hovers over the whole thing. The skank was pretty potent from just a small dab so I can imagine that spraying would have sent me to the shower. After wearing it a while, it actually became warm and comforting with the much- softened cow paddy enhancing the warmth and giving it a furry, earthy feel. The drydown is a snuggly sweet, powdery amber. Reminds me a bit of PdE Musc Tonkin as it feels more like a floral musk than an oud(although I’ve read that oud oil can have an animalic, barnyard odor). I think I could theoretically do this one in very small doses and I’d say this is my favorite of what I’ve sampled.

11) TAUERVILLE ROSE FLASH Jammy, jammy, rose jam cloyingly sweet initially. Once it settles it smells like a lush red rose and tangy geranium which gives it some citrusy tang and a hint of an aromatic green . Still pretty sweet but the woods in the drydown offset it a little. No weird Tauerade in this one which is why I think it bored me.

12) MARNI BY MARNI So glad to see this included as I’ve wanted to try it for a while now. Opens with a bright fruity citrus which carries the equally bright rose. Soon the incense and light spice emerges. The whole composition remains very sheer and light. It reminds me of Caron Parfum Sacre and Eau d’Italie Paestum Rose in that sheer, incensy-rose kind of way. This one feels more vivid and colorful than the other 2. I liked it..

13) VIKTOR & ROLF BON BON Caramelized sugar and not much else. Way too sweet and synthetic for me to even have fun with it. It was like a cotton-candy nightmare of being spun alive into a huge cotton candy machine. I put it on not long before going to bed and had to get up an hour later to wash it off as it was keeping me up, not in a good way.

14) PARFUMS DE NICOLAI PATCHOULI INTENSE This one opens and closes with patchouli, though I found it pretty clean, missing the musty, earthy bits. It is paired with aromatic notes(I think lavender) and something green/citrusy, or citrus zest adding a bitter edge. These pairings turn it very soapy on me(that darned Dial soap again!) and I don’t do soapy well. Smells similar to the Halston above but feels more jarring to me. Softens and sweetens only slightly in the drydown. Actually,my favorite straight up patch so far is Demeter patchouli.

15) A LAB ON FIRE MADE IN HEAVEN One of the strangest things I’ve sniffed in a while. It’s on odd blend of orange blossom and Cap’n Crunch cereal. It’s compelling and fun with its white floral notes and the sweet toasted(even burnt) corn cereal. But as compelling as I find it, at the wrong moment (like a hot, crowded subway car) it would make me want to toss my cereal.

Samples Added:
Vilhelm Parfumerie Dear Polly
A Lab on Fire Made in Heaven
Parfum d’Empire Ambre Russe
Jean Desprez Bal a Versailles (vintage edt)
Le Labo Oud 27
Sonoma Scent Studio Yin and Ylang
Unum Lavs
Samples removed(empty/ empty on arrival);
Carthusia Caprissimo
Carthusia Fiori di Capri
Carthusia Mediterraneo
Biehl Parfumkunstwerke mb02
Byredo Black Saffron
Sonoma Scent Studio To Dream(not found in box)
Viktor & Rolf Bon Bon

Current sample list:
10 Corso Como
A Lab on Fire Made in Heaven
Aftelier Cacao
Amouage Opus II
Andree Putnam
Annick Goutal Petit Cherie
Anne Pliska
Antonia’s Flowers Floret
Azzaro Chrome
Biehl Parfumkunstwerke al01
Biehl gs01
Bond No. 9 Chinatown
Bond No. 9 Madison Square Park
Bottega Venetta Essence Aromatique
Burberry My Burberry reviewed
By Kilian Cruel Intentions
Byredo La Tulipe
Calvin Klein Endless Euphoria
Calvin Klein Euphoria
Carthusia 1681
Cartier Zeste de Soleil
Carven EDP
Donna Karan Cashmere Mist
Comme des Garcons Artek
CDG Undercover Holygrace
Chloe Roses de Chloe
Diptyque Ofresia
Dolce & Gabbana Dolce
Donna Karan Woman
D & G Light Blue Homme
Eau d’Italie Paestrum Rose
Etat Libre de Orange Rossy de Parma
Frederic Malle Outrageous!
Guerlain Chamade
Halston Couture
Hanae Mori
Harvey Prince Journey
Hermes Jour de Hermes
Jean Desprez Bal a Versailles (vintage edt)
Hilde Soliani Acquissimma
John Varvatos
Keiko Mecheri Bois de Santal
Kenneth Cole Mankind
Knize Ten
L’Artisan The pour un Ete
L’Artisan La Chasse aux Papillons Extreme
L’Artisan Passage d’Enfer
Lancome La Vie est Belle
Le Labo Oud 27
Library of Flowers
Lolita Lempicka EDP
Marni Perfume
MPG Ambre Precieux
Michael Kors Glam Jasmine
Michael Kors for Men
Montale Blue Amber
Nasomatto Absinth
Paco Rabanne One Million EDT
Parfum d’Empire Ambre Russe
Rarfums delrae Coup de Foudre
Parfums de Rosine Ecume de Rose
Patricia de Nicolai Patchouli Intense
Profumum Fiore d’ Ambra
Serge Lutens Fleur d’Oranger
Serge Lutens Jeux de Peau
Sonoma Scent Studio Yin and Ylang
Tauerville Incense Flash
Tauerville Rose Flash
Tauerville Vanilla Flash
Thierry Mugler Angel
Tom Ford Velvet Orchid
Unum Lavs
Vagabond Prince Band of Warriors
Vagabond Prince Swan Princess
Valentino Valentina
Victoria’s Secret Eau so Sexy
Vilhelm Parfumerie Dear Polly
Viva La Juicy Noir
Versace Bright Crystal Absolu
Versace pour Homme
Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb
Vince Camuto Amore
Xerjoff Oud Stars Al Khatt



  • Nikki Lever: I’m in the US, and you can share my email address. I will send the box on within 2 weeks if I’m a winner.

    I’m wearing Creed Royal Princess Oud. I love benzoin and styrax on the skin, and wow it lasts and lasts! The bottle is a pretty red ombré, which for some reason makes me think of candy…although the fragrance isn’t by any means sugary, it turns slightly sweet on me. Surprising finish for an Oud! January 8, 2016 at 7:56am

  • epapsiou: 1) I am in NY, USA and I would be happy to share my email with the original sender
    2) I agree to pass the box onto someone else within two weeks or so with a few samples of my own and share the sampling notes with all of you wonderful people
    3) Wearing Lubin Idole today and loving it. Wish it was cheaper January 8, 2016 at 8:31am

  • Julie: Yes please, include me in the US box. I will pass it along within the two weeks.
    Today it an L’ Absolu day. Happy weekend everyone! January 8, 2016 at 10:13am

  • Liz: I live in Malta, so not sure that’s counts as ‘continental Europe’? But hoping so as I’d love to be included. Thanks to great mail service my way, I can pass it on easily within the time! Have no fear that oceans apart will slow it down!
    I am keen to add a Liz Moore Papillon creation – Salome’ has caused such a storm, and I have a sample!
    The copious reviews above from the current winners are a goldmine of info for me. Thanks so much to all. January 8, 2016 at 11:17am

  • Jane C: 1. I am based in the U.S and yes you may share my email with original sender
    2. Yes I agree to pass along box within two weeks
    3. Today I am wearing Elixer of Love by Caswell Massey. January 8, 2016 at 11:21am

  • aurora_rubinshtein: Continental Europe, and I agree with all the conditions!!!

    Today I am wearing Sunshine Amouage, very optimistic osmanthus perfume that I receive as a gift (unbelievable, my dream came true!!!) When I tryed it, my first thought was: this perfume seems to me like a sunny wedding day of a beautiful couple, you know, not youngsters, but elegant late-bloomers’… or this is something like all the happy memories that you always keep with you – slightly faded (tobacco flower base), but always idealised. Osmanthus note is a discovery for me, didn’t know before – amazing, how it changes here from juicy peaches to noble suede.

    Happy New Year and Byzantine Christmas to all who celebrate! 🙂 January 8, 2016 at 11:44am

  • Wilma: Hi, I live in the Netherlands And yes, you can share my email adress and I promise to pass the perfume box on!
    Today I am wearing Maroussia by the Russian designer Slava Zaitsa. This fragrance is as warm and rich as his fashion. Perfect for a cold day in January. January 8, 2016 at 11:55am

  • Oksana: I am in the USA. I would like to win the box and promise to pass it on. You can share my email.
    Today I am wearing Violet Eyes by Elizabeth Taylor.

    A side note: love your blog. I admire your vivid descriptions, particularly, as a non native speaker I can appreciate thevdifficulty of finding the right word. January 8, 2016 at 12:08pm

  • LaDomna: I’m in Finland, which I guess counts as continental Europe. Yes, you can share my email and I promise to pass the box forward in a timely manner!

    I’m actually not wearing any perfume yet! o_O Oh noes! I’ll go put on Slumberhouse Norne now since I have been drooling over lots of lovely forest photographs today! January 8, 2016 at 12:20pm

  • CristinaM: 1) I am in the continental EU (Italy) and I would be happy to share my email with the original sender
    2) I agree to pass the box onto someone else within two weeks or so with a few samples of my own and share my sampling notes
    3) Today I am wearing AG L’Heure Exquise

    Thank you for this interesting opportunity! January 8, 2016 at 12:59pm

  • Ariel: I’m in the USA. I’d love to receive a traveling perfume box and would pass it along in two weeks or so with a few additions. Yes, you can share my email with the sender. Today, I’m wearing Annick Goutal Rose Absolue, which is sweet and rosy, but perhaps seems a little too amber-y in the dry-down? Thanks for hosting this perfume adventure! January 8, 2016 at 1:13pm

    • Karen (A): Ariel, your collages are amazing! Looking at them and then reading the quotes which inspired some of the pieces has been a wonderful way to start the day. January 9, 2016 at 7:52am

  • marymary: I am Mary in the UK. Feel free to share my email address with the sender. I would forward the box in two weeks. I would add my own samples and share sample notes.
    do we have to test all the scents in those two weeks?
    I am sampling eccentric molecules 01. It started woody and smoky, disappeared, then retuned as a white woods musk and is now cedar. If you like lacoste pour femme, 212, or boss woman you might like it. I’m not sure it has enough oomph for me. January 8, 2016 at 2:43pm

    • Victoria: The UK box is huge, so no, you don’t have to. Just take your time. January 8, 2016 at 2:51pm

      • marymary: I’ve just seen that in the UK perfumes have to be posted in their original packaging. It doesn’t seem that posting samples is allowed?. January 8, 2016 at 3:58pm

        • Victoria: I don’t know, the UK regulations are notoriously complicated. But the box has been making rounds in the UK unimpeded. January 9, 2016 at 2:26am

  • Theresa: Don’t include me – I’ve already had the USA box. I just wanted to enthuse over the wonderfully descriptive notes of all 3 of the testers. I can tell you from personal experience that having to write something about an unfamiliar fragrance (of which you maybe took only a drop of a tiny sample vial) is very challenging. well done, everyone! January 8, 2016 at 3:04pm

  • Lizbee: 1. I’m in the U.S. and I’d love to play with the box! Yes, you can share my email address.
    2. I would forward the box within two weeks, and I’d add samples.
    3. I’m wearing Bois des Iles parfum today. It’s one of my all time favorites. January 8, 2016 at 4:23pm

  • Lydia: I’m in the US, and would be happy to share my email address with the original sender. I also would absolutely pass the box along to someone else within two weeks or so.

    I’m wearing Chanel No. 18 today, which I am obsessed with. On me it is this beautiful musky floral that just sort of melds into my skin. It leans ever so slightly fruity, but I really wouldn’t categorize this as a “fruity floral”. I don’t know what I’d call it, really, besides beautiful.

    Interestingly, I tried this last night in my apartment and thought it was too strident and screechy, but when I applied it today in my office it transformed. Weird, right? January 8, 2016 at 4:29pm

  • Mariann: 1. I’m Switzerland and of course you can pass on my email adress 2. Yes I agree to pass the box on. 3. Wore Birch & Black Pepper as I wanted something bracing today and it fit into NSTs woody Friday theme 🙂 January 8, 2016 at 4:53pm

  • SublimiSomnium: 1) USA, yes please share my email
    2) Yes, I will pass the box along in 2 weeks
    3) Dior Dune layered over sandalwood attar January 8, 2016 at 5:58pm

  • Karen (A): Very fun and interesting reading the fragrance summaries. I’m in the US, but don’t want to participate. Today started with Chamade, from a decant but I love it so much I ordered a bottle (they were out, so now have to wait). While shopping, one of my favorite SAs passed on more Guerlain samples including a very generous sample of Shalimar which I’m loving right now. Wonderful, warm fragrance for the chilly damp evening. January 8, 2016 at 6:17pm

  • Flos Archangeli: I am in the U.S. and agree to all the conditions outlined above! It was so fun to read everyone’s notes–I would love to be a part of this. 🙂

    On this cold rainy day, I’m wearing the cozy Tilda Swinton Like This (Etat Libre d’Orange). January 8, 2016 at 6:22pm

  • Clarissa: I am in the US and my email can be shared.
    Today I wearing 10 Corso Comp January 8, 2016 at 6:28pm

  • Emily Merrill: 1. I’m in CA, USA and feel free to pass out my email address.

    2. I will happily share the box within two weeks and add additional samples as well as share and compare notes.

    3. Today I am layering Jo Malone, Mimosa and Cardamom (applied on my wrists, behind ears, and decolletage) and then I walked through a very fine mist of Hanae Mori, Butterfly parfum. January 8, 2016 at 6:41pm

  • Surbhi: I am from US. Yes, you can share my email. And I would send the box to the next person (Please let me know if there are any specific shipping requirements).

    This seems like a very fun exercise to do.Thanks for doing this! I would add few samples that I have. January 8, 2016 at 8:25pm

    • Surbhi: I forgot to mention I am wearing Eau de Magnolia even though it is cold, cloudy and gloomy day. Sometimes I like it as a bright and pick me up scent. January 8, 2016 at 8:26pm

  • Catherine L: Would love this!
    1.I am in the US
    2.Yes, you can share my email.
    3. I promise to send the box on in 2 weeks

    Today I am wearing my old standby for the chilly months…. my huge, beautiful jungle elephant 🙂 Kenzo January 8, 2016 at 8:45pm

  • Vanessa: 1) USA, yes please share my email address with the original sender
    2) I do agree to pass the box onto someone else within two weeks or so and will add a few of my own samples and will share my sampling notes with you all!
    3) I am wearing “Tea Escape” by Maison Margiela January 8, 2016 at 9:39pm

  • Tam: Hello!, I live in the U.S. and you may share my e-mail. Today I am wearing my second sample of Unum Lavs: bright Frankincensy goodness! January 8, 2016 at 10:46pm

  • Solanace: I’m out of the boxes’ ways, but had to chime in to congratulate you on that picture, Victoria. Beautiful composition, so streamlined, and the colors. (Come to think of it, these colors would look great in an eyeshadow palette.) January 9, 2016 at 3:45am

    • Victoria: Thank you very much! You’re right, the grey and burgundy would make a great palette. Shiseido did something similar with their winter collection, and also added an orange blush. January 10, 2016 at 9:15am

  • Connie: I’m in the US, you can share my email and I agree to pass on the box within two weeks’ time if I am the winner.
    Currently is 4:30 am and I’m awake because of jet lag, so I’m not wearing anything. January 9, 2016 at 4:51am

  • Abbie: Hi all, I’m in the UK and would love to participate! I agree to sharing my email address and passing the box on.
    I’m new to the world of perfume so am trying to sample as many things as possible to discover fragrances I love and am currently wearing Isabey’s La Route d’Emeraude, which is lovely – so warm and spicy – unfortunately it just doesn’t seem to last that long on me. January 9, 2016 at 2:08pm

  • Amanda: I’m in the US and you may share my address with the original sender. I also agree to send it on to the next person within 2 weeks.

    Today I’m wearing Frederic Malle’s Dans Tes Bras, one of my recent discoveries/favorites. January 9, 2016 at 3:46pm

  • Jahmaiah: 1.USA, yes share my email
    2. I agree to send the box in two weeks
    3.Givenchy Organza Indecence January 9, 2016 at 9:29pm

  • Cami: 1) where are you based (UK, Continental Europe, USA), and if you’re a winner, can I share your email address with the original sender?: USA, and yes, you can share my email address with the original sender.

    2) do you agree to pass the box onto someone else within two weeks or so (add a couple of your own samples and share your sampling notes with the rest of us)?: YES! You have my word.

    3) what perfume are you wearing today?: Nuit D’Issey by Issey Miyake AND Angel by Thierry Mugler January 9, 2016 at 10:50pm

  • PaulinaL: 1) Poland, yes, I agree to share my email
    2) I agree to send the box within 2 weeks
    3) Hermes L’Ambre des Merveilles – my portable ray of sunshine much needed in this gloomy, cold weather January 10, 2016 at 7:45am

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